Why Agile Governance Matters at the Project, Program and Portfolio Levels

Guest post by Monte Montoya, cPrime

For any organization attempting to migrate to – or sustain – agile processes, governance is an important consideration. This is especially true as companies grow. While small companies can likely get away with fairly informal governance, larger enterprises cannot function effectively without formal controls in place.

As we touched on recently in the article “How to Develop Your Own Recipe for Agile Governance,” every organization can benefit from developing its own unique “recipes” for agile governance that fit the organization’s specific needs and projects.

But why does governance matter so much? Let’s break the answer down into three categories: the Project, Program and Portfolio levels.

Agile Governance at the PROJECT LEVEL

To keep our terminology clear, we’re considering a project to be “a temporary endeavor undertaken to complete a unique product, service, or result.”

Effective governance at the project level identifies and advocates for specific goals to be reached during each sprint or iteration. It helps determine the core requirements that comprise the initial release of the project and the criteria by which additional goals will be decided upon.

Since multiple projects may be closely interrelated, effective Agile governance is often achieved at the program level where these multiple projects interface with broader business objectives.

Agile Governance at the PROGRAM LEVEL

A program can be defined as “multiple related projects that are managed in a coordinated fashion.”

At the program level, the more comprehensive strategic goals of the organization filter down to individual projects that produce tangible results. Therefore, this is the optimal location for Agile governance to stem from.

Managers at the program level are in a key position to fully understand the requirements of each individual project without being directly responsible for negotiating the details. They are also in a position to understand and translate the overarching strategic goals of the organization to project managers who may otherwise suffer from tunnel vision.

Agile governance also provides managers at the program level the means to monitor and report on the progress of projects under their oversight.

Agile Governance at the PORTFOLIO LEVEL

A portfolio is a collection of programs or projects and other work grouped together to facilitate effective management in order to meet strategic business objectives.”

Managers working at the portfolio level are primarily concerned with organizational strategic goals and may have limited knowledge or understanding of individual project successes or failures. However, they do need to know the general direction in which the company’s projects and programs are headed, and they will concern themselves with business continuity matters such as budget and time line more so than those in project teams.

As utilized by the program level, effective Agile governance allows for clear and measurable monitoring of individual projects and broader programs in a language portfolio managers can understand and work with: time, money, and personnel.

Help For Those with RAGE Issues

Establishing effective Agile governance is a potentially complex and difficult process.

For help in making it happen for your organization, take a moment to review our Recipes for Agile Governance in the Enterprise services.

Learn more about RAGE at the Project, Program and Portfolio levels by checking out our RAGE Introduction Webinar:

This entry was posted in Agile Adoption, Agile Portfolio Management, Enterprise Agile, Scaling Agile. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>